The Information Superhighway
The Internet, once concealed inside government agencies and universities, has become the largest single form of communication worldwide. With a number of online individuals exceeding thirty millions and the number of networks that act as gateways for users exceeding fifty thousands, the Internet's boundaries can only be imagined. Often described by the media as “the information superhighway”, the internet offers to customary users a wide variety of services, but also some drawbacks.
Any form of communication via the internet is cheaper and rather faster than any service from other facilities. The electronic mail (email), for instance, allows any user on the internet to send nearly instantaneous electronic message to anyone else. The “internet phone”, which is slowly but surely replacing the regular phone, enables anyone to make free long distance calls, through the computer. With the appearance of “streaming” technologies, broadcasting companies and radio stations are transmitting regularly over the internet, which makes them accessible anywhere on the globe. The only costs involved in using these internet services, and many others not mentioned, are the costs of the user's computer, the modem , and the telephone lines used to dial in, all of which can be relatively cheap.
One of the recent innovations the internet made available is online commerce, which includes online shopping, online banking, online trading and many more. This opens up a new international world of trading. Consumers, overcoming any kind of disability, can effectively dive into an immense range and selection of merchandise, effortlessly compare prices and quickly shop from remote locations. Perhaps, waiting to carry out regular transactions in financial centers is very frustrating. This is not true anymore with the expansion of the internet to include online banking. People can, anytime and anywhere from the globe, access their bank accounts, pay their bills, transfer their money and even trade their stocks. The internet is, beyond doubt, the most efficient and economic tool of the next generation.
But, the dark side of the internet reveals some serious drawbacks. First, it was not designed with tight security in mind. This was demonstrated, at least once a month, by so-called “crackers”: growing minorities of people with nothing better to do than spoil everyone else’s enjoyment....